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The Sohrabs’ brush with speed demon

The son of former RJD leader Mohammad Sohrab owned the Audi Q7 but was not in the car during the fatal accident

By TT Bureau in Calcutta

  • Published 31.01.19, 8:59 PM
  • Updated 31.01.19, 8:59 PM
Sambia Sohrab (left) in court on Wednesday.
Sambia Sohrab (left) in court on Wednesday. Gautam Bose

The first name that came up after corporal Abhimanyu Gaud was mowed down by a speeding car during a Republic Day parade rehearsal in January 2016 was Ambia Sohrab.

The son of former RJD leader Mohammad Sohrab owned the Audi Q7 but was not in the car during the fatal accident.

On Wednesday, Ambia’s elder brother Sambia Sohrab walked out of prison at 8pm, hours after an additional sessions judge in the Bankshall court quashed the murder charge and three other serious charges against him.

Sambia, who was at the wheel of the Audi when it broke through layers of barricades and ran over the young corporal, has been held guilty of causing death due to negligence.

The charge, added by judge Moumita Bhattacharya, carries a maximum punishment of two years in jail.

The verdict was delivered around 12.15pm. As Sambia has spent more than two years in jail, the process to set him free kickstarted immediately.

At 6pm, the judge came to the courtroom again and Sambia was given a copy of the order. By 8pm, he was out of jail. A compensation of Rs 1 lakh and Rs 10,000 fine, ordered by the judge, were deposited.

On Wednesday, most members of the Sohrab family were present in the courtroom.

Tears rolled down the cheeks of Mohammad Sohrab, the father of Ambia and Sambia and the source of power in the family, when the judge delivered the verdict.

“My son did his MBA and was planning to move to the US for specialising in finance. Do you think he wanted to murder someone?” Mohammad Sohrab told Metro outside the courtroom. “The death is irreparable and I am ready to offer any help to the family of the deceased.”

Mohammad Sohrab, one of the richest fruit merchants of Mechua, in the central business district, had represented Burrabazar in the Assembly as an RJD candidate.

In 2013, Sohrab joined the Trinamul Congress. However, after the January 2016 accident, Trinamul leaders said Sambia and his father were not linked to the party.

“It was a reckless demon of a driver. Neither he nor his father is related to Trinamul Congress. The law of the land will punish the culprit soon,” a statement issued by Trinamul in January 2016 read.

An officer of a police station in central Calcutta said Mohammad Sohrab was among the biggest suppliers of dry fruits to Bangladesh from Mechua.

The family owns several restaurants in Calcutta. Afreen, a multi-cuisine restaurant in the Ripon Street area, is among them, the police said.

The abundance of money reflected in the lifestyle of the younger Sohrabs.

Ambia’s garage has several luxury cars lined up.

Metro had reported in 2016 that the garage had the all-American Hummer that would have cost him between Rs 70 and Rs 80 lakh. It also had a Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder. A friend of Ambia’s had said his Gallardo was a second-hand purchase for Rs 1.5 crore.

“It’s not sure whether the cars are still in the garage,” an officer of Jorasanko police station said. “There are several other expensive cars, including Mercedes and BMW.”

The boys’ father, who joined Trinamul in December 2013, has indulged his elder son’s passion for speed, according to multiple sources.

A traffic police officer who was posted in central Calcutta earlier said the brothers were known for reckless driving.

In 2006, barely two days after Ambia’s father became an MLA, the youth was caught for speeding on a two-wheeler and not wearing a helmet. The sergeant asked for the vehicle’s papers, which he was not carrying, police sources said.

When the police were about to tow away the motorcycle, Ambia had allegedly said: “Tum jaante ho main kaun hoon? Main MLA ka beta (Do you know who I am? I am MLA’s son).”

He was 16 then.

Mohammad Sohrab and Ambia both fled after Sambia had been arrested.

Ambia returned days later but Mohammad Sohrab remained a fugitive for a long time.

The police had charged him for harbouring Sambia before his arrest.

On Wednesday, the court acquitted Mohammad Sohrab of the charge.